May 29 2007

You’ve Got to Glow – How to Create This Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Published by at 11:24 am under Photoshop

Among the many effects you can use Adobe Photoshop to create in an image is to make the image glow. You can use this tool to make backgrounds, foregrounds, text, or any part of an image glow, but for beginning purposes, it is easiest to learn this tool by experimenting with making a whole image glow. Once you master that, you can refine your skills to better suit your purposes.

To get started on making your image glow, choose what you want to work with, and open that file in Photoshop. If the image is not saved as an RDF file format, then you will need to convert it in Photoshop. Once you have selected your image, open the filter tool. Click “filter”, then “render,” then “lighting effects.” This will open the lighting effects box. In the box, choose a light type. Omni is a standard one to work with, but you can experiment with different light types to get the lock you want to achieve. Apply the changes; close the dialogue box, and you’re done! Your whole image should now be glowing.

If you don’t want to work with an image, but rather you want to make some kind of glowing graphics, you can do that using the Photoshop polar coordinates filter. A simple way to start is to create a glowing swirl. To do this, first open a new file and then select “create a new layer.” For simplicity’s sake, while you’re learning, set the foreground color to black and the background color to white.

Next, you want to fill your screen with gradient. Open the gradient tool and then using the tool, trace from the bottom left corner of the screen to the top right – your screen should now be filled with gradient. Now, open the wave window by clicking “filter”, then “distort”, and then “wave.” You will need to change a number of settings in the wave window. The number of generators should be set at 9, and the wavelengths should have a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 110. The amplitude should be set at a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 37. Both the vertical scale and horizontal scale should be 100%. Under type, select “square” and under undefined areas, select “repeated edge pixels.” Apply all of these settings and close the wave box.

Now, go back to filters, and this time click “distort” and then “polar coordinates.” In the window that opens, change the settings to “rectangular to polar” and set the value at 100%. It’s time to invert the colors now. Go to “image”, then “adjustments”, and then “invert.” Now adjust the curves and the sliders in the same way, by opening the image file, then adjustments, and the choosing “curves” or “levels.” There’s not right setting for the curves and sliders; simply set them to however you like them.

You should now open the blending tool and set the layers panel to “multiply.” Go back to the filters mode and select “distort” and “twirl.” In the window that opens, change the setting to 100% and the angle to -80%. Now go to “layers”, then “flatten,” and then “image.” Viola! You should now have a glowing swirl.

You can use your swirl however you like, be it in print media or for online computer graphics. You can also apply the principles you used to make the swirl to making other glowing graphics in Photoshop. As any Photoshop user knows, mastering techniques on the program takes plenty of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it is worth it.

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